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VR scales back services as passenger numbers collapse

Finland’s railway firm is planning temporary layoffs this year.

Allegro-juna Pietarissa
Trains between Finland and Russia will also be suspended. Image: Kimmo Brandt / AOP

Finland’s state railway firm VR has announced cuts in service levels from mid-April as the company grapples with a collapse in passenger numbers due to fears over coronavirus.

In the last few days passenger numbers have tumbled by 60 percent across local and long-distance networks.

The company intends to continue running the most important long-distance and local trains.

At the same time, the firm is to start co-determination talks with unions over temporarily laying off the whole workforce in stages through the year.

Any individual employee would only be laid off for a maximum of 90 days.

Trains between Finland and Russia will also be suspended. Allegro trains between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg will run until the 19:00 departure on Wednesday 18 March, and the 20:30 service from Saint Petersburg to Helsinki.

The last ‘Tolstoi’ train to Moscow will leave Helsinki Central Railway station at 17:44 on 18 March.

The Russian trains will be suspended at least until 13 April, the date when Finland must renew or rescind emergency powers legislation.

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